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Jonathan Lange: Contrary To AP Report, Wyoming Delegation Supports Trump’s Efforts To Count Legal Votes

in Column/Jonathan Lange

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

Multiple filings in state and federal courts alleging election fraud constitute the most momentous election news in two decades.

The 2020 election has the potential to be the biggest scandal in the history of our nation. By November 6, all three members of Wyoming’s delegation spoke in support of President Trump’s call to count every legal vote and discard every illegal ballot.

John Barrasso, Wyoming’s soon-to-be senior senator and Senate GOP Conference Chair, said: “As vote totals continue to update, Americans deserve confidence in a fair and transparent election. The President is right to ensure all legally cast votes be observed and counted.”

Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming’s first woman senator-elect, emailed through her spokeswoman, Kristin Walker: “Where there are instances of fraud, we must root them out, correct and hold those responsible to account. Anything less is a complete affront to the American rule of law and election integrity.”

Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s lone congresswoman and House GOP Conference chair, wrote: “Every legal vote must be counted. No illegal votes should be counted. The counting process must be transparent, and observers must have access. It’s the responsibility of the courts to apply the laws to resolve disputes. These things are necessary so that all Americans can have confidence in our election process.”

Nevertheless, the Associated Press reported that “top Wyoming elected officials refused to say Friday if they agreed with President Donald Trump’s baseless claim that Democrats are trying to steal the presidential election.” (Top Wyoming Republicans dodge question about Trump remarks, Mead Gruver, Nov. 6). This characterization bears little resemblance to the actual statements.

How can calls for a full counting of every legal vote be anything other than agreement with President Trump? It’s hard to read such misreporting as anything but a deliberate attempt to drive a wedge between Wyoming’s D.C. delegation and voters. Simultaneously, it props up the false narrative that Trump’s claims are “baseless.”

In a state where President Trump received 11 percent more votes than his 2016 victory, and which had the highest margin of victory of any state (69.9 percent), accusing a national politician of tepid support for Trump is certain to damage the relationship between representatives and constituents. While this misrepresentation may have been deliberately aimed at President Trump and Wyoming’s delegation, deception also causes collateral damage among the general population.

Lies disrupt communication. As a direct consequence, they destroy community. That is why everyone should be alarmed at the massive uptick in fraud and obfuscation that we have seen in the mainstream media and on social media in recent weeks and months.

No doubt the media outlets that conspired to hide the facts of Spy-gate, Hunter Biden’s laptop and President Trump’s legal claims were only trying to sway the election. Likely, they were not trying to dissolve friendships or split families. Nevertheless, they were far more successful in doing that than they were in swaying voters.

That is criminal. It should enrage every citizen.

The Fourth Estate—the free press—is supposed to unite communities around the truth, which enables them to hold their governing officials accountable. When the press becomes so partisan that it deliberately suppresses the truth in a bid to shield a politician from accountability, it divides and disenfranchises the community. In so doing, it has become the enemy of a free state and of every good citizen within it.

Truth is the bedrock upon which we stand as a united people. It holds us
together as families, churches, communities and nations. We are called to discover the truth, not invent it. It exists quite apart from personal perceptions or opinions. The more people there are who understand the truth, the more united is the society.

The upheaval we are witnessing in this year’s election process is far beyond the bounds of partisan bickering. Community-minded citizens from both sides of the aisle need to recognize that foreign governments, global media corporations and monied interests are openly attacking the community that is the United States of America.

Deliberately hiding factual reports and otherwise gaslighting the American public, their intent is to divide and conquer. Broken friendships, feuding families, deteriorating communities, and even divided churches, are only collateral damage as far as they are concerned. Power is their goal. Falsehood is their weapon.

But they cannot win if you stand for the truth. It is the job of every patriot of every political party to make truth, integrity and justice the highest priority. We must be more loyal to the truth than to any man. We must be more determined to find the facts than to win any election. We must be more willing to punish evildoers than to protect favored players.

Led by lies we cannot win. But united around the truth, we cannot lose.

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Mike Moser, Chris Brown: With Everyone Aboard, We Can Get Through This

in Column/Chris Brown/Mike Moser

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By Mike Moser and Chris Brown

In June, we penned a column asking Wyomingites to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so that Wyoming businesses can remain open. 

Although many sectors of the economy have been negatively affected by the pandemic, some of the businesses we are honored to represent… restaurants, bars, lodging, and clubs… have taken among the worst of the economic damage.

There is only one way to avoid additional restrictions in Wyoming.  Start voluntarily.  If you don’t want to wear face masks and practice social distancing for yourself, do it for others. 

Although we have a number of counties that mandate mask usage, compliance with those health orders is often spotty at best.  We do not want to force elected officials and health professionals to take additional action, but our carelessness may force their hand, at either a county or statewide level.

We had anticipated five months ago the likelihood of a second wave of COVID-19.  We were wrong.  This isn’t a wave, it’s a tsunami.  And that tsunami threatens to engulf many of those businesses that have managed to survive thus far as well as the well-being, and lives, of our fellow Wyomingites.

Wyoming has thus far been fortunate by having some of the fewest restrictions in the country.  To put that in perspective, 35 states, in addition to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, currently require people to wear face coverings in public statewide, according to a list maintained by AARP. Utah and North Dakota joined the list in recent days, and more are sure to follow.

Although we have fewer restrictions than the significant majority of states, the negative impact on Wyoming businesses and our employees is greater due to the high percentage of small businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry.  Many of those businesses that are holding on by a thread, and will not survive another shut down.  Although we understand the possibility of further restrictions in this COVID-19 tsunami, we don’t want to see it happen.

Perhaps you are one of those folks who feel masks and social distancing are unnecessary.  That, we suppose, is your right.  But we represent industries whose employees have been taking those precautions for months now, including wearing face masks every shift.  We want to keep our businesses, and our employees want to keep their jobs.  Please help them do that.

Follow the safety guidelines for the wait staff that needs that job to keep food on the table for their kids.  For the clubs, which includes veteran’s organizations, who are struggling to keep the lights on.  For the bar or restaurant owner that sees the spike in COVID-19 cases and knows that they can’t make it through another shutdown.

In closing, we thank you for your business.  Whether it’s takeout, a socially distanced restaurant meal, a beer with friends, we deeply appreciate Wyoming’s support for our small businesses.  Just one major thing.  Face masks and social distancing aren’t nearly as oppressive as businesses closing and employees losing jobs.  We’re looking toward the finish line, when a widespread vaccine will come available.  But for now… Please help us stay in business.

Mike Moser, Executive Director, Wyoming State Liquor Association

Chris Brown, Executive Director, Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association

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Bill Sniffin: COVID-19 Vaccine Is A Moon Shot! The Nation Should Celebrate

in Column/Bill Sniffin

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher, Cowboy State Daily

A vaccine in a little over 10 months for a deadly virus – amazing.

Everybody alive today should be celebrating this amazing achievement. It could be argued that not since the landing on the moon in 1969 has this country had a milestone quite like this. And in such a short period of time!  

If you consider that almost 250,000 people have died this year, alone, from the COVID-19, the race to get a vaccine developed has achieved what initially seemed an impossible goal.

President Donald Trump deserves credit for his Operation Warp Speed but so does everyone else involved.  He started this process on Jan. 13, some 10 months ago. The government approved billions of dollars in emergency funds to private drug companies like Pfizer and Moderna to get vaccines developed in record time – truly at warp speed. And Johnson and Johnson is reportedly almost ready with its vaccine, too.

As I write this, President-Elect Joe Biden is criticizing President Trump for not cooperating with members of the Biden team on how to distribute the vaccine.  My guess is that Trump’s folks don’t trust how Biden’s team could get the vaccine out.  After all, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is on the record as saying she will not use a vaccine developed by the Trump team. What an irresponsible thing to say.

Trump has always said he plans to use the military to handle the distribution and it appears there is a plan in place – it is just waiting for final FDA approval.  The assumption is that the vaccine will be given to health care workers on the front lines first and then, hopefully, to the most vulnerable senior citizens. I know a few of those folks.

But rather than cuss and discuss the political ramifications, let’s just bask in the glory of what this means.

I reached out to a bona fide expert on Pfizer and vaccines, Henry McKinnell of Jackson. He was CEO of Pfizer for many years. Here is what he said concerning the whole subject of vaccines:

“A few days after the 9/11 attacks, I met President George W. Bush on his first visit to New York following the attack.  He asked me how long it would take the industry to develop a vaccine against biological weapon?  I replied that under the then-current regulatory regime it would take 12 to 14 years.  He smiled and said, ‘I hear you.’  I then said the best case was four to five years primarily because such a vaccine would be given to healthy people including children and risk versus benefit had to be our highest priority.

“Against that background and the fact that over 80% of new vaccines and therapeutics fail in development, the preliminary look at the effectiveness of two novel vaccines in large scale clinical studies within ten months of the identification of the Sars-COV-2 virus is truly impressive and truly historic. 

“While the early efficacy signals are extremely positive, the hard parts lie ahead.  The first rule of medicine is ‘Do No Harm.’  Harm is defined as risks of adverse events exceeding benefits for the patient.  

“While the benefits of a vaccine to prevent Sars-COV-2 infections are indisputable, the risks attached to any vaccine are as yet unknown, except maybe to the independent Data and Safety Monitoring Boards of these studies. Hopefully, the new vaccines will be well-tolerated and as effective as the early looks at the data imply. 

“If not, hard decisions lie ahead.  Should we accept a vaccine with adverse events for one in 10,000 people?  Should we accept a vaccine with serious adverse events for one in a million people?  With 330 million people needing vaccination, these are not trivial questions.  Hopefully, the new vaccines will provide benefits exceeding risks for all.

“The final hurdle is not distribution as you hear from the media.  We have overcome more complicated logistics problems in the past.  The final hurdle is to be effective in halting the pandemic a vaccine needs to be safe, effective, and used by the vast majority of the population.  Vaccines don’t stop pandemics, vaccination programs do.  

“The news here is not good.  The ‘Anti-Vaxers’ are a threat to their own families and to us all.  A major communication challenge lies ahead. Hopefully, the enormous disruption to our lives brought on us all by this pandemic will convince us we need to fight this virus with all the tools available to us, not to fight each other.

“I will end with a very sincere thank you to those on the front lines of this fight,” he concluded.

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Bill Sniffin: Active Cases Went From 608 In August To 9,897 Today; Emotions Run High About Potential Covid-19 Restrictions

in Column/Bill Sniffin

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher, Cowboy State Daily

It looks like a whole lot of people in Wyoming are fired up about the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths here in the Cowboy State.

As the weather turns cold and people huddle indoors, the chances of spreading COVID-19 increases.

Could today’s weather in Wyoming be any different than this summer?  We probably hosted 5 million tourists this summer yet our total numbers of COVID-19 remained super low.

In August, when the state was being over-run by tourists, we had 608 active cases.  Today we have 9,897 active cases.

Gov. Mark Gordon was about as emotional and angry as we have seen him during his press conference Nov. 13.  He referred to a portion of our state’s population as “knuckleheads” for not practicing social distancing and wearing masks.

Meanwhile in Casper, infectious disease specialist Dr. Mark Dowell and various elected officials were hooted off the stage recently by angry citizens when the officials tried to emphasize the dangerous state of health that they felt the people of Wyoming are dealing with right now.  It was an ugly scene.

The anti-maskers feel statistics do not bear out the drastic measures being considered by Gordon and state officials.  They look to neighboring South Dakota and how Gov. Christi Noem has kept her state open. 

Noem’s detractors claim that South Dakota is now one of the worst states in the country for COVID-19, noting the state is sending patients to Wyoming hospitals.

Gordon and his staff have reached out to business organizations for their input on the situation.  Should he impose a mandatory mask mandate?  Should he impose the same health restrictions that forced restrictions on businesses seen last spring?  

My prediction is that members of these state groups will support a mask mandate but not a business shutdown.  I am writing this on Nov 15. By the time you are reading this, some of decisions may have happened.

Meanwhile, my friend Steve Mossbrook died in the Casper hospital one day after his 74th birthday from lung disease complicated by COVID-19.  Now that spooks me.  Steve was a slim and fit guy.  He was a terrific golfer.

He was one of Wyoming’s early Internet pioneers, creating, and I had known him for 30 years.  He had been in the hospital for two weeks and kept going downhill.  He had been a lifelong smoker and in recent years had been vaping. His lungs were not healthy.  Still, the last time I chatted with him he was full of energy and anxious to launch some new programs. 

Another good friend is Glenn Arbery, 69, president of Wyoming Catholic College. He caught the COVID-19 and told me that for the past week, he has had occasional headaches, chills, and very low energy. But he is on the mend. He plans to get back to work next week.  His case, although not ideal, made me feel a little better.

Long-time Powell Tribune Publisher Dave Bonner, 80, tested positive a few weeks ago after attending a University of Wyoming football game. “I have completed my public health COVID-19 quarantine and am just easing back into circulation,” he says. He says he has not smoked since college and that may have contributed to his good result.

During the recent presidential campaign, it seemed like Joe Biden followers all wore masks and stayed out of harm’s way.  Donald Trump backers wore baseball hats, no masks, and lived a normal life.

On a national level, the whole idea of mail-in ballots totally reflects the Biden-mask ethic while the walk-in voters on election day reflected the Trump ideal.  It truly was a visible image of a classic division in our country.

Here in Trump Country, where Wyoming voted 70 percent for the incumbent (more than any other state), you can understand why there could be so much resistance to mask wearing and a mask mandate.

So, what to do? 

Gordon is going to make a decision and it will be a doozy, either way.  If he imposes a mask mandate, who will enforce it?  If he doesn’t, has he shirked his responsibility to keep Wyoming folks safe? 

Meanwhile on Sunday morning’s Meet the Press show, Biden’s new chief of staff indicated that a four- to six-week national shutdown may be on the table as soon as Biden is sworn in.  That, plus a national mask mandate.  These folks are serious.  A whole bunch of folks out here in Wyoming will rebel. It won’t be pretty.

These are difficult times for Wyoming when it comes to COVID-19. Be safe and be careful out there.

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Bill Sniffin: COVID Victim Steve Mossbrook Was A True Wyoming Internet Pioneer

in Column/Bill Sniffin

One of the first true internet pioneers in Wyoming was Steve Mossbrook, 74, founder and owner of Wyoming.Com in Riverton. He died Nov. 5 of lung disease and COVID-19.

Steve and I were friends for 30 years.  He was the guy who acquired the rights to the name “Wyoming.Com,” when nobody else was smart enough to snatch it.  A great many people in the state used for their email addresses initially until other competitors moved into the state.

He built a nice sized company and diversified into other product lines besides just the internet business. He had pretty much retired and he and his wife Sandi spent their winters in California where they golfed and played croquet. Steve was excellent in both sports. He returned to Wyoming.Com full-time in July and was excited about some new directions for the company. 

I always liked Steve although he could be sarcastic. He could tease with the skill of a professional. When I saw him this summer he looked in wonderful health. 

The state has lost a true visionary with his passing. He died a day after his 74th birthday.

Here is his obituary information

Steven Alan Mossbrook was born November 4, 1946 in Rochester, New York. He died November 5, 2020 in Casper of lung disease complicated by COVID.

Steve was the second of five children born to Polly and Bill Mossbrook. He grew up in a rural setting near Lake Ontario. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio, graduating with a BA in Economics. Several years later, he earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Georgia State University.

He considered himself an entrepreneur, working in diverse areas such as selling copiers and commercial real estate, plastic bag manufacturing, cabinetmaking, and providing technology. Steve was proud of two abilities: he could sell, and he could count. He always said he was better at starting companies than running them, but in the past 25 years he pioneered and created successful growth at Wyoming.Com, Cerento, and Contact Communications, all technology companies in Riverton Wyoming.

Little round white balls held great fascination for Steve. He was competitive in many sports, especially soccer, volleyball, pool, croquet, and golf. He was very proud of being a ‘single digit handicap’ golfer, as well as a tournament level croquet player. In addition to playing the sports well, he also contributed by coaching, being an officer in the organizations, and organizing tournaments.

Steve enjoyed some finer things in life that fed his adventure-seeking side. He owned and piloted a single engine plane, owned a fast boat for water-skiing and camping, and had a lifelong love of fast luxury cars. He was comfortable with being in control and also with taking a risk. Steve was an enthusiastic, outspoken, occasionally outrageous person. He was always a presence. He was one of a kind. He was one of the good guys.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years Sandra; daughter Alexa Nowland (Eric) and four grandchildren (Lilly, Stasia, Sophie, and Oliver), all of Riverton, Wyoming; sisters Kathryn (New York) and Barbara (Florida); and brothers David (Kentucky) and Douglas (New York).

Due to COVID and traveling difficulties, no services will be held at this time. Instead, several smaller celebrations with friends and family in various parts of the country will take place as the year goes on, including a golf gathering next summer in Riverton.

The Second Amendment In A World Of President Biden, VP Harris, And Justice Barrett

in Column/Kip Crofts

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By C.A. “Kip” Crofts, guest columnist
Crofts is a former U.S. Attorney for Wyoming

In the public policy debate in America today, probably no issues are more controversial than abortion and gun control.  

Generally, views on the gun issue follow red/blue lines, with the red side believing they have a right to defend themselves and their families and businesses, while blue folks seem to hate and fear guns more than they do the people who pulled the trigger.  

Although this seems to be changing with even blue folks buying guns now when they hear about riots, calls to defund the police, and news about police who fail or refuse to respond to 911 calls.

Both President-elect Biden and Vice-President elect Kamala Harris made it clear that they want more gun control.  On the Joe Biden website they include fifteen pages of a plan for all the gun control laws they plan to pass. 

Former U. S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who competed in the early primaries for President said, “Hell yeah, we’re going to take your AR-15.  If it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on the battlefield, we’re going to buy it back.”  Later, when Beto dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden, Biden said to Beto, “You’re going take care of the gun problem with me.  You’re going to be the one who leads this effort.” 

Kamala Harris said over and over that, “Weapons of war have no place in a civil society.”  

It is important to point out for these folks that the semiautomatic AR-15 type rifle that they are talking about, owned by millions of law-abiding Americans, has never been used as a “weapon of war” by the US Military or any other military force in the world. They seem to be talking about the M-16 military rifle that is already illegal for civilian use because it is a fully automatic (machine gun). This is a common falsehood used by gun control advocates, and even some federal judges, who either don’t know the difference or are willing to lie about it to support their position.   

The Biden platform proposes to reinstall the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which everyone agrees had no measurable effect on crime. The old law allowed continued possession of guns already owned but now he goes further and says he will also get rid of existing rifles with a “buy back” program.   This sounds friendly enough, but it is clear the owner would not have a choice in the matter, and it also does not explain how the government can “buy back” something it never owned.

There are a number of other proposals in the platform that are less well-known but equally concerning to the millions of law-abiding gun owners in America. 

I have written a book entitled, “A Few Commonsense Gun Laws – Is There Such a Thing and Can They Work?”  This is based on a lifetime of experience with guns and gun laws as an Army officer with service in two wars, a law enforcement officer, a federal prosecutor and US Attorney.  

Generally, my answer to both questions is “no.”  In that book I discuss current and proposed gun control laws, and explain why they either don’t work or are unconstitutional, and usually are both. If we spent more time identifying and controlling dangerous or mentally ill people, and less time worrying about inanimate objects, such as guns, cars, hammers, knives, shoes and golf clubs, all of which can and have been used as dangerous weapons, we’d be more effective, more intelligent, and more honest.  If we take a gun away from a dangerous person all he has to do is get another. We arrest drunk drivers – not the cars they drive.

It is futile to try to manage human behavior (violence) by trying to control inanimate objects (guns).   It just doesn’t work. 

These laws “infringe” (the operative word in the Second Amendment) upon the rights of the millions of gun owners who do not commit crimes with their guns, while doing nothing to prevent criminal violence by a tiny minority of criminals who are willing to ignore all laws, including those regulating guns.   

For example, does anyone think that a person planning to go to a school and kill children will be deterred by a sign announcing, “Gun Free School Zone?” 

Or does anyone think that a violent fugitive will try to buy a gun knowing that he will have to provide a photo ID and submit to an FBI background check?  

Of course, not – he’ll steal it or pay someone to buy it for him. These laws are not only unworkable, but unjust because too often they punish people severely for mere possession of a gun when it is clear that they had no intention of doing any harm to anyone with the gun. 

With a diminished majority in the House and at best a tie in the Senate, is there any likelihood President Biden will have any success in tilting this windmill? And if he does, what will happen when the laws get to the Supreme Court? 

Since the landmark opinion by Justice Scalia in 2008 in the Heller case held that citizens have a right to possess guns for personal defense, the Court has been strangely silent on a host of subordinate issues deciding the limits of that right.  I don’t know but suspect Chief Justice Roberts, who joined Scalia in the Heller decision, does not want to rule again in favor of gun rights, then read about a school shooting the next day.  But judges do that all the time, as when they hold that a confession by a murderer was taken in violation of the Constitution and may not be used in his trial. It is their job to follow the Constitution – not the opinion page of the New York Times.  

It is embarrassing the way the Supreme Court has allowed the lower courts to fly all over the map on those issues.  The worst example may be laws allowing the police to decide who has a “need” to exercise this constitutional right by carrying a gun for defense of self and family.  

Some states say that a general desire for protection, without some specific threat, is not sufficient.  So, I guess you call the police office that approves gun permits while the person is breaking down your door when you can describe a “need?”  What other provision of the Bill of Rights is subject to such arbitrary control by police?  Would we tolerate this government intrusion in any other context?

I suspect this may change with the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Court.   She has demonstrated in at least one case that she takes the Second Amendment seriously.   

Wyoming prohibits felons from possessing firearms, as does federal law.  But the Wyoming law limits that prohibition for a short list of violent felonies, whereas the federal law prohibits all felons from having guns.   I argued in my book that federal law was not constitutional.  

To abridge a clearly stated constitutional right, the government must show at least that the law has a “rational basis.”  Conviction of a violent felony shows a predisposition for violence.  But conviction of some innocuous white-collar crime proves no such thing.  

There is simply no good reason for keeping Martha Stewart from having a skeet gun.  

I’m sure Justice Barrett never heard of me or read my book, but in a dissenting opinion she wrote while still a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Barrett expressed that same opinion, arguing that a person convicted of mail fraud has not demonstrated that he is dangerous.  This opinion greatly disturbed the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee considering her nomination who will not be happy until no American citizen has any right to bear arms.  

That opinion by Justice Barrett shows that there are now five justices who take the Second Amendment seriously and I believe the amendment will do just fine now unless Democrats are successful in stacking the Supreme Court to put Justice Barrett in the minority.  

But Sen. Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia, has already said he’ll vote against that and any change in the filibuster rule.  So, it looks like the Second Amendment may survive another onslaught by politicians who haven’t read the Constitution or thought much about what it says, why it says it, and how important it is to sustain a free nation. 

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Dave Simpson: Gotta Be A Pony In Here Somewhere…

in Dave Simpson/Column

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By Dave Simpson, Cowboy State Daily columnist

Let’s see if we can find the pony in this pile of manure.

(Optimists, Ronald Reagan joked, look for the pony buried in any pile of road apples.)

Let’s take a look at the tumultuous events of recent weeks:

– The good news is that political ads disappeared from TV and radio after election day. The bad news: Those Medicare supplement renewal TV ads still have a couple more weeks to run. (Are you as tired of Joe Namath as I am?) And I don’t think the pillow guy from Minnesota is ever going to give us a rest.

– A radio ad that ran before the election got my dander up, referring to the “atrocious” voting record of a candidate I met during my reporting days, and who got my vote in several elections. Atrocious? Really? She is a former rodeo queen, legislator, state office holder and congresswoman. Sometimes bare knuckles turn people off, and the former rodeo queen won by a huge margin.

Good for her.

– I wrote in a column two weeks ago that if Joe Biden wins the election, “I intend to regard him with all the respect, dignity, good will, cooperation and benefit of the doubt that our Democrat friends have extended to Donald J. Trump.”

That column ran on Facebook and got 337 likes, a couple loves and some laughing smiley faces. But one reader called me a “mouth-breathing dullard,” and another said, “This guy needs to find a different line of work.” (Now he tells me, after 47 years in this business.) “He’s not the brightest bulb in the box.”  Another asked, “Who paid this idiot to publish articles?”

Several were appalled that I would treat the next president as shabbily as the current one has been treated. But don’t worry. I don’t think we will treat your guy as badly as you relentlessly treated our guy, from day one, for four years, day in and day out, with constant investigations and 95 percent of the news coverage of him deemed negative. We’re nicer people, and I doubt we could compete with that virtuoso performance.

– Talk of a “blue wave” of Democratic victories in the House and Senate did not pan out, with Republicans actually picking up seats in the House.

In the Senate it’s a closer deal, but it looks like Republicans are likely to hold on to their slim margin and retain leadership. That throws a monkey wrench into liberal plans to expand the Supreme Court, end the legislative filibuster, add two new states to the union, repeal the Trump tax cuts, and make rich people “pay their fair share.” Oh yeah, and they want to phase out fossil fuels and put a cork in cows.

Not gonna happen, unless the Democrats can win both of those Georgia runoff elections on January 5th for two Senate seats. Seems unlikely.

If the Democrats pull that off, however, my advice is to bury your life savings in coffee cans in your back yard, and shelter in place in your basement until 2022.

– I think it’s very good news that Hollywood airheads donated big money to defeat Republican Lindsey Graham, and Graham got re-elected by a 10 percent margin. That’s $100 million wasted. A similar unsuccessful effort to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wasted another $100 million.

Is there a dumber town than Hollywood?

Sometimes, like calling someone’s voting record “atrocious,” throwing millions at defeating a candidate just makes voters mad.

– Borrowing a term from one of my critics, I think some states aren’t the brightest bulbs in the pack, either. Alaska is almost as sparsely populated as Wyoming, and yet Wyoming’s vote totals were in early on election night. But five days after the election, they were only half done counting votes in Alaska. (I think the votes were coming in by dog sled, one at a time.)

Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada were also dim bulbs when it comes to timely vote counting.

– And lastly, who in their right minds will ever believe pre-election opinion polls again after their woeful performance in the last two presidential elections?

I wouldn’t trust those guys to tell me the time of day.

Dave Simpson can be contacted at

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Jonathan Lange: The Legacy Of Roy Edwards, A Wyoming Man

in Column/Jonathan Lange

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

Roy Harlie Edwards, representative of House District 53, succumbed on November 2, after a brief illness. Wyomingites from all walks of life, and from all over the state, were saddened by the news. Condolences are extended to his wife, family and all who mourn his loss.

We also owe them our deepest gratitude for supporting Roy in his tireless work to make our little town with long streets into a better place. It is fitting that we mark Roy’s passing with reverence and gratitude. His life of service gave voice to the common man and served the entire state.

Roy was a true son of Wyoming. His ancestors homesteaded in the Gillette area and that is where he lived his entire life. Graduating from Gillette High School, he was blessed with a loving marriage and a faithful family. For three and a half decades he travelled from ranch to ranch for the Farmer’s Coop, servicing equipment. Then, he founded Edwards Tire Company and continued his passion for serving people.

His dedication to his wife and children led him out of the house and into the community. For Roy, that meant service in his church, first and foremost. Whether as deacon of Central Baptist Church or traveling across the world to distribute Christian printed material, he was always eager to tell people why he lived with such a big smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.

Roy’s faith in Jesus was not privatized. It led him into public service. For 12 years he served on the Gillette City Council. After that, he served 8 years on the Campbell County Commission. In 2014 he was elected to Wyoming’s House of Representatives. That is where I came to know him. I first admired him from afar. More recently, I came to know him as a friend.

One might think that 34 years in public office would make a consummate politician out of any man. But Roy’s warm smile and firm handshake were not an act. He could talk to anybody—and often went out of his way to do so—but he never spoke a disingenuous word.

Roy’s success was not a function of following the crowd. Rather, his brand of politics was to speak boldly and create a following. For this reason, he was often dismissed as a hayseed simpleton. Those who made this mistake not only missed out on his friendship and wit, they also missed out on his profound wisdom.

A master of working behind the scenes, Roy built coalitions, persuaded people on the fence and encouraged colleagues to take the lead. Hardly anybody knew how hard he worked or how sharply he could perceive any situation. But for those who did, he was the epitome of humble and unassuming leadership.

Even in death his humble leadership is still being felt. As the Republicans of the House of Representatives meet in caucus next Saturday, they will be voting on the last project of Roy Edwards. During the final months of his life, he was the driving force that assembled one of the slates of house leadership that House Republicans will have the option to choose because of his forethought and leadership.

Of course, leadership without a vision does little good. At the heart of Roy’s vision was a passion for individual liberty. He had a deep understanding of how easily true freedom is mistaken for mere individualism. He could also see more keenly than most the connection between true human freedom and fiscal policy. The more that individuals control their own spending, the more communities thrive.

Roy’s colleagues tell me that he was consistently one of the most nay-saying legislators in Cheyenne. He voted against far more legislation than he supported. But that does not mean he wanted government to do nothing.

During his time in Cheyenne, Roy was the lead sponsor of 14 bills. Three of these, “Wyoming Legal Tender Act” (2018), “Ad valorem taxation” (2017), and “Senior center meal sales tax exemption” (2016) were signed into law. All of these removed unjust tax burdens from Wyoming citizens.

Roy also led three unsuccessful attempts to move some of Wyoming’s savings into precious metals. His constant concern was to be faithful with the resources God has given to the state today in order to leave a better Wyoming for those born tomorrow. In fact, Roy’s heart for the unborn can also be seen in his co-sponsorship of seven bills to protect the unborn. Three of these were signed into law.

Tax repeals, precious metals and pro-life legislation may strike you as a strange hodge-podge of legislative concerns. I assure you they are not. Roy was deeply imbued with the thinking of America’s founders. Like them, he allowed his faith to penetrate his politics deeply. This allowed him fully to integrate the practical and material needs of people with their social and spiritual needs.

That, I believe, is the greatest legacy that Wyoming has received from Roy Edwards. In our day ideologues are intent on driving faith out of the public square. For seven decades, we have been propagandized to believe that the “separation of church and state” is a constitutional principle. It is not. It is, rather, alien to America’s founding principles and illegitimately imported into American political discourse.

By internalizing this poisonous thought, conservatives often enter into public discourse with their most powerful weapon left in its sheath. They fight for a better community and state with their right arms tied behind their backs. Then, they wonder why truth, justice and goodness continue to lose ground to lies, corruption and evil.

Roy Edwards was not burdened by this false idea. He was unapologetic about his Christian faith and he fully integrated it into his public life. Community service, for him, was not a distraction from his faith. It was the life of faith itself. If this made him appear unsophisticated to some, that is their loss.

In the face of opposition from right and left, Roy had the quiet confidence to stay the course. His principled conservatism was unshakable because it was not rooted in shallow slogans, but in a deep understanding of the human condition.

Roy was a man of Wyoming because he championed its values, not simply because he was born here. He was an ardent defender of a way of life that settled this land and made her communities good and wholesome. By God’s grace we were given many years of his faithful service, and an example to follow into the future.

The Wyoming flag has been flying at half-mast all week. This is an honorable and fitting remembrance of Roy Edwards. When it is again hoisted to its full height, let us carry on with the quiet boldness of people who know where we come from and where we are going. That is the legacy of one Wyoming man.

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Bill Sniffin: Where does Wyoming fit in a President Joe Biden world?

in Column/Bill Sniffin

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

As residents of the most Republican Donald Trump-loving state in the country, many Wyoming folks are reeling in the face of the apparent election of their arch-nemesis Democrat Joe Biden.

As I write this on Nov. 8, Biden has been declared president by the AP and all the major news media, including Fox News.

What are some of the realities connected with that result?  Here are some thoughts:

First, nothing is going to happen until Jan. 20 when Biden takes the oath of office. It will be interesting how President Trump deals with issues between now and inauguration day.

Second, January will be a huge month for politics.  Both Georgia Senate races will go to a special runoff during that month. It will be a donnybrook, as control of the Senate will depend on the results.

Third, since the presidency is now in the hands of the Democrats, the key to a return to some kind of normalcy will be if the Republicans continue to control the Senate. But the GOP has to win at least one of those Georgia seats.

Fourth, the reality is that in the big picture Wyoming is going to be hit hard by energy programs proposed by the new administration, especially when it comes to fossil fuels.

Fifth, Wyoming will have continued clout in Congress, but only on the Republican side.  The GOP needs control of the Senate to be able to use that clout.

And finally, sixth, some smart GOP operatives think Trump should come up with a plan right now to give a path to citizenship to a whole bunch of Hispanics. One of the big surprises of the 2020 election was how many Hispanics voted for Trump. This could bode well for the GOP going forward on a national level.

A look at who Biden picks as his Cabinet members will speak volumes about how his administration would treat Wyoming’s fossil fuels.  Will he pick a Green New Dealer to head up Interior and other sensitive posts? So far, he is emphasizing moderation and cooperation.

Biden backed off during the waning days of the campaign on his original vow to end oilfield fracking.  Ultimately, he clarified that he meant fracking “on federal land,” which affects Wyoming greatly. Most of the fracking in eastern states is on private land.

Hard-core Democrats have to ask the question:  Why did so many of the big-money Wall Street bankers back Biden?  Will money continue to rule this country?  Can Democrat idealism survive this big-money influence?

Let’s talk about the national news media. It was shameful how one-sided their coverage has been for four years against Trump. Can we expect to see a fair media again or will it continue to be the public relations arm for the Democrat Party?

Exit polling showed the two biggest issues in the presidential election were President Trump himself and the COVID-19 epidemic.  Millions of voters were weary of the drama. 

When it came to symbolism, the biggest identifiers of the two parties were a MAGA hat for Republicans and a face mask for Democrats.

Back here in Wyoming, the election saw an amazing transition finally occur in Sweetwater County.  Long considered a Democrat bastion, pundit Island Richards in Rock Springs pointed out that his county voted 70 percent Republican.  This sounds more like Park County than Sweetwater, frankly.

Two popular and effective Democrat legislators were dislodged when Lisa Anselmi-Dalton lost her Senate seat and Stan Blake lost his House seat. Both of these results were considered upsets by outsiders looking in at the Sweetwater County elections. But as Richards points out, to folks living there, the trend lines showed way more GOP voters, which helped explain those results.

Both Wyoming statewide candidates received national support but not to the same extent.  It appeared that Senate candidate Merav Ben-David got 10 times as much national financial assistance as House candidate Lynnette Grey Bull. 

Yet all that extra money made no difference. Grey Bull got 24.6 percent of the votes among four candidates for U. S. House.  Ben-David got 26.7 percent of the vote among just two Senate candidates.  Those races were runaway victories for Senate by former U. S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis and for House by current U. S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

In an earlier column, I mentioned how often we were getting phoned by Ben-David’s campaign. I erred in referring to someone as speaking in a “non-Wyoming” sounding voice.  Four people complained loudly to me that I was not sensitive enough.  I agree. But I am learning. Please be patient with me as I navigate the current world we live in.

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Growing Up in Jeffrey City, Wyoming

in Column/Jerry Kendall

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By Jerry Kendall, Cowboy State Daily

Whenever I mention that I grew up in Jeffrey City, I almost always get the same response: “Really? Jeffrey City? I’m sorry.”

Then I spend the next 15 minutes trying to convince the person that it wasn’t a bad place to grow up. My explanation generally starts with, “the wind blows a lot but after a while, you hardly notice.”

Well, anyone who has ever lived there knows that you never get used to it. Ever! You just sort of live with it and adapt.  

Ain’t no one better at adapting than kids.

Now you’ve got to realize these were the days before video games, computers, cell phones, and if you even had a TV, you only got one channel.

We spent all our free time outside and it seemed there was always plenty to do. After all, we did have the whole Red Desert for our backyard.

Our family actually lived on the back trailer row of the town and as the wind ripped through the gap between Green Mountain and Crooks Mountain, we were pretty much the first thing in its path other than the sagebrush.

I can remember watching the walls of our trailer moving in and out, like some great aluminum salamander breathing. Sometimes the windows would bow in until I thought they would shatter, sending shards of glass into anything in their path. Folks would put old tires on their roofs to keep them from rumbling as the wind swept over them. As I mentioned, the wind blew some in Jeffrey.

During the winter there were huge snowdrifts, which set up to the point where you could carve out caves or build forts made from blocks carved with shovels. We used these fortresses for huge snowball fights amongst warring enemies. We played king of the mountain on a mound of snow that would have been considered a real mountain in some states.

When it got cold enough, the miners would go out into a nearby field and push up snow walls with plows or backhoes into a large square and then fill the center with water for a skating rink. Almost every kid in town would show up with their battered old hockey skates. If you tried to skate against the wind you would end up going backwards until you ran into the snowbank on the downwind side of the rink.

What most of us would like to do was walk in the snow up the side until we got to the upper end. Then holding you coat open so the wind filled it like a sail, we would fairly fly across the rink, smashing into the bank at the other end and rolling through the snow out into the field. Hey, when you get lemons, make lemonade!

I remember one hot summer day, my buddy Dean Axtell and I were wandering around town, slingshots hanging from our back pockets, wondering what to shoot next when we spied a large refrigerator box behind the mercantile. We decided to make a fort out of it.

The wind was howling as usual. This box was a place to get away from being sandblasted for a while. Fighting the wind, we dragged it out to one of the few grassy areas in town, which ran along the highway and we crawled inside.

Much to our delight, we started rolling alongside the highway, tumbling all over each other and laughing uncontrollably. As we gained momentum, I ended up rolling out the end of the box, landing in a heap on the grass.

“Hang on Dean!” I shouted as I ran to catch up. But I couldn’t catch up. Dean was a little feller back then and he and that box were headed east at a high rate of speed. Just when I thought I would never see my little buddy again, the box spit him out as well. He was so dizzy he couldn’t stand up, so as any good friend would do, I ran up and dog-piled him.

We sat in a heap, laughing until our sides hurt and watched in amazement as the box began taking huge leaps into the air. The last time we saw it we figured it was headed for Casper. “Well, now what do you wanna do?”

 Everything considered, Jeffrey City was a great place to grow up in. We had movies in the old Quonset hut on Friday nights. We had a small outdoor swimming pool. We even had a bowling alley, which had been moved from Lander. Add that to the Sweetwater River within walking distance to swim and fish in and of course the Red Desert in our backyard to explore.

One thing though  .  . . the wind does blow there a bit.

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